Yesterday, Palmeiras played the Libertadores a la Felipão. With a solid defensive performance, while keeping Grêmio on their toes due to always-present rapid counter-attacks, the team scored the sole goal of the match through a set-piece and brought home the advantage of playing for a draw to classify to the semi-finals.
The game marked Palmeiras’ 36th away victory in the Libertadores Cup – top of the class among Brazilian clubs.
Weverton; Marcos Rocha, Luan, Gustavo Gómez and Diogo Barbosa; Felipe Melo, Bruno Henrique and Scarpa (Raphael Veiga); Willian (Thiago Santos), Dudu and Luiz Adriano (Carlos Eduardo).
Felipe Melo hit the showers early… Again. Thiago Santos received a yellow card.
It has been a while since we last saw a defensive performance as good as yesterday’s. Grêmio, despite having more ball possession, did not really threaten Weverton’s goal and our keeper finally celebrated a clean sheet again. Both Gómez and in particular Luan were rock solid, while Marcos Rocha did a great job neutralising Grêmio’s most dangerous forward, Everton. Scolari fielded a strong side and kept the pressure up, also while ahead in the score in the second half, promoting Carlos Eduardo when Luiz Adriano got tired. The amount of dedication from Dudu and the rest was impressive. Palmeiras are finally back, that’s for sure.
The result was tremendous, but could have been even better. Dudu had two huge opportunities to increase Palmeiras’ lead. The first, a firm header, requiring a brilliant save from Paulo Victor. The second, a first-time shot hitting the woodwork. One might speculate Palmeiras would have increased the lead had not Melo been sent off halfway into the second half.
Felipe Melo should be the object of academic studies. He is probably the best defensive midfielder in Brazil, but he almost put everything at risk again. With ten minutes on the clock, he had already received his first yellow card. About halfway through the second half, he received the second – rather dubiously to be frank, but nevertheless – and left the field crying his eyes out. Melo is always on the edge of things.
Scarpa’s amazing shot propelled him to the top of the scorer’s list of this Libertadores Cup edition, at six goals tied with Marco Ruben and Adrian Martinez, who play for teams that have already said goodbye to the competition.
Palmeiras’ weekend game for the Brazilian Championship has been postponed due to clashing agendas with other competitions. This means we can enjoy a full week of rest and training before the return leg of the Libertadores quarterfinals. The game will be played Tuesday night, at the Pacaembu stadium, a draw enough to see us through to the semi-finals.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
—- ooo —-
by Augusto Anteghini Oazi & Kristian Bengtson